Tips For Your Tiger Week 4

1_zpsriyzdsdyMeet Lisa Jalilian from Denham Springs, Louisiana. She is a senior and will be serving as the Parent Oriental Leader for the University College: Center for Advising & Counseling this summer. She is majoring in Biological Sciences. Lisa is involved in LSU Ambassadors and the LSU Pre-Dental Society. Her favorite spot on campus is the LSU Campanile or as many know it, the Memorial Tower. She finds it to be iconic as well as a strong presence on campus.

Thanks to the latest Disney musical extravaganza, everyone is preaching, “let it go” as their new motto.  For all our new LSU family members, I am here to explain that this bittersweet motto is not a bad one to visit Tiger nation with.

My parents are my best friends, and were very involved in every step of my life, kindergarten through twelfth grade.  They never missed any opportunity to chaperon for an event or to add (stalk) one of my friends on Facebook. But on the first day of orientation, when my mom was informed that she and I were going to separate check-in rooms and mostly different programs, I realized that college would not be the same.

I surprised myself by worrying about my parents not being involved in my life at LSU. My mom surprised me by not displaying any of the anxiety I was feeling for the both of us, as she offered me a soft smile and a few short words before parting. FullSizeRender

I realize now, what Mom had realized in the summer of 2012; this was college, things were going to be different, and we just had to let it go.


There is a reason for separate orientation programs; parents and students have different roles at LSU. Orientation is a great lesson of independence and responsibility, and at the end of everyday y’all are able to share and learn from each other.


Your student may change his or her major, wish to study abroad, join a new organization, apply for a prestigious internship, etc. Encourage them to explore and make the difficult decisions on their own. Be their #1 supporter by simply believing in them.


Communicate with your tiger! Contact them with intentions of simply talking, not drilling them with questions about classes, budgets, health, etc. Let them control the conversation, and if you listen long enough, you will hear more than what your questions might have uncovered.


While your student is making connections, I encourage you to collect contacts of your own. You never know when you will need someone to reach out to for some advise or a second opinion.


People are often sensitive to unfamiliarity, making any transition difficult. Offer your student patience and determination. There is a reason LSU chose your student; they belong here and are going to do just fine!


They are not everything, but grades are important. Familiarize yourselves with campus resources. There are a variety of study aids, tutoring options and advising available for your student to utilize.


LSU is full of opportunities for you and your student. Embrace your separate roles and get involved.

Two years later, my parents sent a second student to college, and today, have mastered their roles as LSU Mom and Dad. I have modeled these tips specifically from the parenting that they demonstrated for my little sister and me during college. Although they cannot be there every step of the way, they remain involved in our lives and continuously offer their tremendous support.  My wish for y’all is to Love Purple and Live Gold with incredible pride and spirit alongside your tigers and to take the next three/four/five years by storm! GEAUX Parents <3

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Tips For Your Tiger Week 3

JG profileMeet Jewel Goodly from Champaign, Illinois. She is a junior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the E.J. Ourso College of Business this summer. She is majoring in Human Resource Education-Leadership Development with a minor in Business. Jewel is involved in LSU Ambassadors and the STRIPES Program. Her favorite spot on campus is the Quad. Her advice for parents is to trust not only students, but that your hard work has paid off!

It’s not you, it’s college.

About six years ago, my oldest sister left for college I was beyond excited for her in every aspect. I assumed that we would text 24/7, that I would get a call from her every day and we would remain in close contact. The communication with her was the opposite and it was hard for me to adjust to rarely hearing from my best friend. While the communication with her did improve, that year I made a personal vow to remain in close communication with my siblings and parents when it was my turn. The stigma I had of my sisters poor communication skills quickly changed as I began my transition to LSU. The more I became acquainted to campus and started to get involved, I learned exactly where my sister was coming from and understood more of why the communication had slowed. Although none of this is intentional as a new college student, your students are developing a new way of living.  I learned that the lack of communication wasn’t intentional but that forgetting to check in with my family did occasionally happen. Between courses, professors, roommates, socializing, staying active, exams, loneliness, new friends, old friends, new home, Greek life, student life etc. college can be quite a bit to adjust to.  Now about to enter my junior year at LSU, I am proud to say I am actively keeping the vow I made to stay in contact!JG fam

College is definitely a transition and a huge adjustment for not only the students but all the family members as well.  So while your student is going through this transition, remember it’s not you, it college. Staying connected can be a good morning text or a flight home if you have an out of state student. Here’s a few tips for staying in communication and contact with your student while you are BOTH transitioning:

  1. Have a conversation with your student and other family members about how often they plan to call and what times fit best in both of your schedules.
  2. Care packages are everything! Nothing makes you feel more connected, loved or supported than receiving a care package or a sweet card to brighten your day! This is any easy way for your student to get a little piece of home right in their residence hall. Every time I got that email saying I had a package to pick up, it always felt like Christmas. Starting August 1, your student can register for a mailbox at the RICOH Mailing Center located in the LSU Student Union.
  3. Know that college makes your students appreciate you more than ever and even if we are reluctant to admit it, you really are the best. Receiving that good luck text right before a big exam or random Skype or FaceTime dates really does make our day.
  4. This one might mainly apply to dads, but remember that if your student calls, they might just want to talk. We don’t always need money, we didn’t get in a car accident, we aren’t failing anything, we just want to talk.
  5. Be a great listener because we might just want to vent and aren’t necessarily looking for an answer. Also try not to say “I told you so” or nag us about the little things when communicating with us.
  6. If you’re not friends with you student Facebook, request to be there friend. Have a conversation with your student about updating their Facebook with pictures so you can see all the fun stuff they are doing.
  7. If you can make a visit, do it!
  8. Lastly if you’re having a hard time communicating with your student, be patient and remember it’s not you, its college.
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Tips for Your Tiger Week 2

Blaise profileMeet Blaise LaCour. She is a sophomore from Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. Blaise is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Tiger TV and the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. Her favorite place on campus is 203 Herget Hall. This summer she will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Art and Design.

The relationship between parents and their children is an ongoing struggle.

While parents give us everything they have, we love to take them for granted. Coming to LSU means your student has complete freedom and it’s up to them as to what they do with it. My advice to parents sending their children off to college is to trust their own parenting skills. It’s now your job as proud parents to take a small step back and see all your efforts at work! This new separation will make your student appreciate you more than you know.

It took me moving hours away from home to realize that my parents had completely prepared me for life on my own. Not only did they give me the gifts of integrity and self-confidence, but they also taught me how to respect everyone I come into contact with. blaiseWhen it came to school they had always given me the independence to go after whatever I wanted, and this freedom allowed me to accomplish big things in high school. Now they were blessing me with the opportunity to take LSU by storm. By using the life skills they had equipped me with my freshman year was a success.

Their support gave me the ability to balance my new college curriculum with the several organizations that I had gotten involved in. But support alone didn’t get me through my first year at LSU. The fundamentals I was taught growing up kept me afloat, and I’m forever grateful to my parents for that.

Just remember, parents, don’t doubt your own abilities. Your student can achieve anything because you have helped them get this far. LSU is a font of opportunity that your student is more than capable of using to their advantage. You’ve prepared them their whole lives or this moment. From prioritizing their school and social life to keeping their rooms tidy, know that you have taught them well. Congratulations parents on a job well done!

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Tips for Your Tiger Week 1

BG-profileMeet Briana Guillory from Houston, TX. Briana attended Westfield High School and has recently graduated from LSU with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Throughout her collegiate career, she was involved with LSU Ambassadors, STRPIES, and the Association for the Education of Young Children at LSU. This summer Briana will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Human Sciences and Education. In the fall Briana will begin her teaching career at Mimosa Park Elementary in St. Charles Parish teaching first grade.

My advice for parents: Be patient with your student. Wait for them to have their light bulb moment.

It’s summer. Your student is done with high school. Forever. What an exciting accomplishment! For me, high school was full of memories with great friends, opportunities to showcase my talents, and countless teachable moments as a result of the decisions I made. Overall, I enjoyed my high school experience, but I knew there was more. The moment I received my acceptance letter from LSU, I knew being a tiger would be empowering, inspiring, and would transform me in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be.

I began my collegiate career the summer before my freshman year as a part of the Summer Scholars Program, an eight-week program for under-represented minority students to help them overcome academic, social, and cultural challenges they may face during their transition from high school to college. BG-parentsThe first day of classes just so happened to be the day after graduation, so I walked across the stage around 7:00 pm on a Sunday evening, loaded up my mom’s car afterwards, and immediately drove 4 hours to Baton Rouge where I attended my first LSU class at 7:30 am the Monday morning. Needless to say, this was a very emotional day for my parents and me. I was so content to be in Baton Rouge and finally starting this journey of independence but I was overwhelmed with questions: What do I wear to class? How do I study in college? How do you make friends in college? What am I going to do without my parents cooking for me? How often do I go home to visit? It was a lot to take in at one time! In the midst of all of these thoughts, the most vivid memory I have from that night is when my parents left. My mom left me an orange with a note next to it and it said “Orange you lucky to be loved so much!” I immediately burst into tears when I saw it that morning.BG-note It was in this moment that I realized how grateful I was for how my parents raised me and all of the the opportunities they had given me through their hard work and unconditional love. I was so appreciative of them for allowing me to go to LSU and have my own college experience out of state. It was in this moment that I realized that I was truly on my own and they wouldn’t be there for me holding my hand, and in that moment I was a bit terrified.  This was my light bulb moment.

Parents, I want you to know that these moments will happen for your tigers more often than you think. Our pride gets in the way and we often think we can handle everything on our own, but that does not mean that we love or need you guys any less. College is a time for your students to begin a journey into the person they are meant to be, experience new things and new people, and learn from their mistakes. Be patient and allow them to explore their freedom. Trust me, you will know when they have that light bulb moment. They’ll start calling more. They’ll make surprise visits home. And they’ll have tears in their eyes as they pull out of the drive way and head back to their new home. College is hard but they cannot get through it without you guys.


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Meet the 2015 Parent Orientation Leader Team

One very unique thing about LSU is the way its orientation program is structured. We are one of the few universities that have a separate program for the families of future tigers. The program is designed to help ease the concerns of the family members as well as provide information to help their students be successful at LSU. Every year a team of LSU Ambassadors is selected to help lead this program by contributing their first-hand knowledge of the university. This year’s team consists of eleven members that hope to make every family feel at home at LSU.

IMG_5998Drake Boudreaux will be serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader. He is a junior from Lafayette, Louisiana. He is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Advertising and minoring in Visual Communication. Drake is involved in several organizations on campus such as LSU Ambassadors, Student Government and Dance Marathon. His favorite place on campus is Tiger Stadium. His advice for parents is to support your student in whatever way will be most beneficial for them. If that is with a phone call every night or with encouraging text messages throughout the day, it is always great to be reminded by the ones we love that we are being thought of while going through the hustle and bustle of college.

IMG_6003Briana Guillory will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Human Sciences and Education. She is a recent graduate from Houston, Texas with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Briana will go on to teach 1st grade in the fall. She is involved in LSU Ambassadors, STRIPES Program and AEYC at LSU. Her favorite place on campus is 102 Allen Hall. Her advice for parents is to be patient with your student. This new independence is empowering for them, so allow them to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes but ensure them that you are there for them every step of the way.

IMG_6005Taylor Bourne will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Agriculture. She is a junior from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is majoring in Sports Administration with a minor in Business. Taylor is involved in LSU Ambassadors, LSU Move-In-Day, Geaux Big and works at the LSU Ticket Office. Her favorite place on campus is the Greek Theatre. Her advice for parents is to stay calm during any situation, not to hover and trust your student to be great!

IMG_6019Brandon Power will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Engineering. He is a junior from Mandeville, Louisiana. He is majoring in Industrial Engineering. Brandon is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Engineering Ambassadors, Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Sophomore Gold Program. His favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground. His advice for parents is to tell their students to get involved in as many things as possible at LSU and for them to get involved with the LSU Parent and Family Programs to stay connected to the university.

IMG_6013Madison Lusco will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Music & Dramatic Arts and College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a junior from Madisonville, Louisiana. She is majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Criminology. Madison is involved with LSU Ambassadors and Dance Marathon. Her favorite place on campus is in front of the Bell Tower. Her advice for parents is to know your student has made it here because of everything you have taught them while growing up. Keep this in mind and know that they are ready; you have taught them well.

IMG_6043Lisa Jalilian will be serving as the Parent Oriental Leader for the University College for Advising & Counseling. She is a senior from Denham Springs, Louisiana. She is majoring in Biological Sciences. Lisa is involved in LSU Ambassadors and the LSU Pre-Dental Society. Her favorite spot on campus is the LSU Campanile or as many know it, the Memorial Tower. She finds it to be iconic as well as a strong presence on campus. Its silhouette is found on many of LSU’s logos and she is always able to give campus directions in proximity to the Campanile. Also, last summer as a STRIPES small group leader, she lead a group of first year tigers though a four day retreat with the small group name of “Campanile” and shared many found memories with them. She would advise parents to focus on just their role at orientation and trust that their student(s) are capable of doing the same. By family members focusing on Parent Orientation and allowing their student(s) to focus on Freshman Orientation, they will be getting the most out of FOAP and could ultimately help and learn from each other in the future.

IMG_5987Ryan Bolotte will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the University College for Freshman Year. He is a recent graduate from New Orleans, Louisiana with a degree in Biological Sciences. He will attend LSU Medical School in New Orleans in the fall. Ryan is involved in LSU Ambassadors, STRIPES Program, Supplemental Instruction and Tutoring. His favorite place on campus is the LSU Lakes. His advice for parents is to know it is 100% okay for your student to make mistakes, especially within the first year. This year is a time of learning for both students and family members so when mistakes happen on either end, learn from those and then move on.

IMG_5980Meagan Johnson will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the Manship School of Mass Communication. She is a senior from Hackberry, Louisiana. She is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Political Science and History. Meagan is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Collegiate 4-H and the University Baptist Church College Group. Her favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground. Her best advice for parents is to just be supportive of their students. This is a very new experience for them and having your support can be the best thing to help them get through it. Just a few supportive words letting them know you are there if they need anything or that you are proud of them can really make all the difference.

IMG_6035Jewel Goodly will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the E.J. Ourso College of Business. She is a junior from Champaign, Illinois. She is majoring in Human Resource Education-Leadership Development with a minor in Business. Jewel is involved in LSU Ambassadors and the STRIPES Program. Her favorite spot on campus is the Quad. Her advice for parents is to trust not only students, but that your hard work has paid off!

IMG_5991Blaise LaCour will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Art and Design. She is a sophomore from Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. Blaise is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Tiger TV and the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. Her favorite place on campus is 203 Herget Hall. Her advice to parents is to know that your student is about to encounter a workload much different than what they experienced in high school. When they get wound up, be the voice of reason. Sometimes they just need to hear that everything is going to be all right.

IMG_6024Nicole Dominique will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Science and the School of the Coast and Environment. She is a junior from Thibodaux, Louisiana. She is currently pursuing a dual-degree in Microbiology and English Literature with the intentions of applying to medical school in the coming year. At LSU, She is involved with LSU Ambassadors, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Gamma Beta Phi and Honors College Advocates. She also researches in a microbiology lab on campus in Life Sciences and works as a content tutor for the Academic Center for Student Athletes. Her favorite location on campus is Middleton Library because of the different floors with varying noise levels, the great views of campus, and the CC’s that can be found on the first floor. Her advice for you to have your best experience would be to download the LSU mobile app and just to embrace your time here. Her second piece of advice is just to enjoy everything around you. LSU has a phenomenal culture with great people comprising our campus, so just enjoy all of this while you’re here despite any stress or anxiety you may experience.

All of us POLs are here for you if you ever have any questions. We look forward to spending time with you all! Geaux Tigers!

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College, That’s a Wrap!

11201630_10205381375147710_6847942161028912054_nMeet Ryan Bolotte from New Orleans, LA. Ryan attended Ponchatoula High School and has recently graduated from LSU with a degree in Biological Sciences. Throughout his collegiate career, he was involved with LSU Ambassadors, STRIPES, and Supplemental Instruction. This summer Ryan will be serving as a second year Parent Orientation Leader. In the fall Ryan will begin medical school at LSU in New Orleans.

Four years ago, I was fresh out of high school with my diploma in hand and ready to take on the next big step in my life: college. Now, four years later, I am fresh out of college with my second diploma in hand and ready to take on an even bigger step in my life: medical school. When I look back on my time at LSU, it’s remarkable to think about all of the obstacles and challenges that I was forced to overcome, but it’s even more incredible to think about how rewarding it was to make it through those four years and how much I learned about myself along the way. There were a few major lessons that I learned while at LSU that proved to be vital in helping both my family and I succeed at this whole college “thing”, and I want to share those with you!

One of the first things that parents and families are going to be concerned about is staying in touch with their student. It’s a very valid issue, especially for students coming a long way from home to Baton Rouge. However, it’s not difficult to make something work these days with all of the technology that we have. Whether it’s a weekly phone call, a group text with the parents, or a daily text from your student, I’m sure there is something that you can agree upon that will work. The only thing you have to do is make sure to communicate beforehand with your student what is the best option for both of you and be open to changes in case your “communication plan” needs to be tweaked or altered throughout the years.

This is probably the hardest lesson I had to learn, but it is possibly the most important one for you and your student: it is okay to make mistakes (I promise). This goes for families and students alike. As a perfectionist, this was not easy for me to comprehend, but I soon realized that not everything is going to go as planned. From move-in day to the first exam to post-graduation plans, I had to learn very soon that it was fine to stray away from the original plan sometimes. I learned a whole lot more when things weren’t going right during college, and I can take those lessons that I learned about positivity and adaptability with me into the future.18705_10205381367907529_8724908469208468807_n

It is going to be hard at times to not compare what your student is doing to his or her siblings, friends, or your friends’ children. There were many times when I found myself comparing my grades, extracurricular activities, or jobs to what other people were doing, and I know my mother did the same thing with her friends and their children. Two LSU students could do exactly the same things (have the same major, take the same classes, do the same extracurricular activities, etc.), and their college experiences will still be different due to the simple fact that every student is different. I found that comparing my experience to other students’ experiences only got me caught up in thoughts that were not going to help me achieve my goal of getting into medical school. I needed to focus on my classes, my obligations, and my medical school preparation and stay away from comparing my unique journey to everyone else’s.

After spending four years here, I can guarantee that LSU offers everything that a student could ask for. The campus is beautiful and “home-like”; the organizations and clubs create smaller communities within the university; the student body is filled with passion and pride; the departments and university staff will ease your student’s time here; the faculty will provide your student with an excellent education; and the other students at this university are one of a kind. This is the best deal that any college student could ask for. Everything is out there, and it is upon you and your student to maximize the resources that LSU has to offer.

The last thing that I will leave you with is something that my mother told me before I came to college: constantly encourage your student and yourself to do the best you can. You cannot do any better than your best, and I always had to remind myself of that. If I gave something my all, and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, I could be satisfied knowing that I gave it everything I possibly could. That is the attitude that you and your student have to maintain – do your best as a family member and have your student do his or her best, and things will fall into place from there. 11207369_10205381379787826_8227741502466119537_n

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Summer in Baton Rouge

IMG_0723Meet Reem Al-Juriad, a first-year student in the Masters of Higher Education Administration program. She is currently serves as a graduate assistant in the office of Student Advocacy & Accountability. Reem earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University in May 2014. Her hometown is Mandeville, Louisiana and loves all that the boot has to offer!

Summertime in Baton Rouge is a wonderful chance to explore the city without the hour-long traffic delays. One of my favorite activities is exploring downtown Baton Rouge. Saturday mornings at the Main Street farmer’s markets are filled with local vendors all selling BR favorites from fruits and veggies to sweet treats.IMG_2419 If you get there early, take a tour of the capital and walk up the steps to the top to see the beauty of Baton Rouge. You can also tour the old governor’s mansion and learn some history of the capital. The best place for coffee any day of the week (except Sundays because they are closed) is Magpie Coffee off of Perkins. Not only do they have phenomenal service, but their coffee and delicious treats will keep you going back as a regular customer. If you want to experience the nature and get away from reality take a trip to Tunica Hills about an hour outside of Baton Rouge. The creeks and trails are not only a great workout, but you truly experience the beauty and nature of our state. If you enjoy live music and great Mexican food, Superior Grill off of Government Street is where you should go! Their food and drinks are spectacular and who wouldn’t want a free concert with friends?! My favorite LSU experience during the summer has to be utilizing the UREC. Normally during the school year I am so busy with other things, I forget about the many activities other than working out they offer. My friends and I rented a canoe last summer and took an afternoon adventure canoeing around the LSU lakes! Experiences like these are the ones that remind me why Baton Rouge is truly more than a college campus. Start your summer bucket list and enjoy your time in Baton Rouge! IMG_0693

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CHANGE Break Journey

ChangeMeet Shannon Matzke, a sophomore Coastal Environmental Science major at LSU. Shannon has been involved as a CHANGE Break: Georgia 2015 Team Leader, Tiger Remedy Secretary, Research Assistant in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences throughout her college career! 

Before spring break, I had never climbed a mountain, used an axe, or gone for a week without running water. Well, CHANGE Break: Georgia 2015 changed that. Over spring break, a group of 8 LSU students and 2 advisors traveled to northern, rural Georgia to do maintenance on the Appalachian Trail. I am lucky to have been part of an amazing group of people and to have gone on such an unforgettable trip.

My CHANGE Break journey began in late fall of 2014 when I received an email from Campus Life about participating in an environmental service trip over spring break. Being a tree hugger, I was immediately enticed. I had recently changed my major to Coastal Environmental Science and thought that the experience would be a good introduction into my new career path. I went to the interview and was not only accepted for the trip, but I was also chosen as a team leader. And so I began working with members of campus life and my co-leader to prepare for the far-off trip to Georgia. The first meeting with the full group came and went. We learned each other’s names, discussed the meaning of service, and participated in Geaux Big together. In Change 5the usual way of things, before we knew it, we were packing up a 15 passenger van at 4 am the day after Easter about to embark on an experience that we knew little about with a group that we were just getting to know. We were all there for different reasons. I was there because I love the environment and will do anything I can to help it, some were avid hikers, some were looking for an alternative to the usual beach trip, and some were looking to pad their resumes. We pulled away from LSU vowing to leave our fears, reservations, and nerves behind. We spent the next 10 hours sleeping, changing the radio station, and watching the flat land change into hills and eventually the Appalachian Mountains.

When we arrived in Suches, Georgia, we were more than ready to finally get out and stretch our legs, but the final miles were not what we expected. The sun was just beginning to set, and we were driving into some of the thickest fog that I had ever seen. As we drove up the winding mountains, sometimes right on the edge of a thousand foot drip, I could not help but close my eyes and hope that our advisor who was driving had some sort of experience driving in the mountains. We slowly made our way, and when we finally pulled up to our cabin, we were tired and carsick but also ready to check out the place that we would call home for the next week. We were greeted by Pat and David, two members of the Georgia Appalachian Trial Club who had been married for over 50 years and would soon impact our trip more than we could have imagined. They told us about themselves, their children, their jobs and all about the Appalachian Trail. When Marion, the GATC (Georgia Appalachian Trail Club) trail supervisor arrived, we entered the cabin and were pleasantly surprised and especially happy to learn that we had a fridge to use. We went to bed early that night (which became our routine for the whole trip) and were all excitedly wondering what the next day would bring.

Getting ready for the daChange 2y with 9 other people is no easy task when there is only one small bathroom to change in, but we made it work and at 8:30 Marion was at knocking on our door ready to lead us to our first work site. We followed him in our van up a mountain trying to keep up and quickly learned that most of the GATC members were fearless when it came to driving on the mountains. We parked at the base of a mountain, split into groups, grabbed our hard hats and tools (that we had no idea how to use) and set off. I was in a group with Pat, David and Marion along with two other LSU students. We hiked a short distance and jumped right into our tasks. Well I should say that we were ready to jump in, but in reality we had no idea what we were doing. We watched Marion dig out “dips” in the trail which were indentions in the soil to allow water to drain off of the trail instead of pooling up. We listened as David explained to us how to use a Pulaski, fire rake, and Pickmatic. We saw Pat work harder and longer than any man out there. By the time lunch rolled around, we were getting the hang of the work, even though we had only completed one or two dips. We followed the GATC members along the trail and headed up to Preacher Mountain to eat with the rest of the team. I will never forget that lunch because that was the first time that I had climbed a mountain and the first time that I had ever been so nervous that someone would fall off of a mountain once we reached the top. When we got to our lunch spot, we met up with our friends who were all sitting on this boulder-like area on the side of Preacher. We had an amazing view, and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch except for the times that people dropped phones and hard hats and sprinted to the edge of the rock to grab them. We all survived that lunch and soon were back on the trail getting more proficient with the tools and starting to understand how the work we were doing would impact the AT (Appalachian Trail). When we were though, we headed out to the parking lot to enjoy Pat’s famous homemade cookies and chat with the GATC members. One of my favorite parts of the trip was learning about the members. The GATC consists of mostly retired men (and a few amazing women like Pat) who for the most part over 60. The men we worked with were all about 70 years old, and we struggled to keep up with their hiking pace and work ethic. I think that we all decided that the key to eternal youth is to do trail work after retirement.

The days continued with Change 5much of the same events as the first. We drove on a mountain, hiked, worked, and went to sleep around 9 pm. We met new GATC members, all with new stories to tell and things to teach us, hiked new mountains, and did different kinds of trail work. One day, we went up Springer Mountain, the start of the AT, and did rock work. We used sledgehammers to crush rocks to fill in gaps in the trail, and we used ropes to maneuver rocks that weighed hundreds of pounds into the right positions to build steps in the trail for hikers. We got to saw and chop roots, and at the end of the day we were able to see a visible difference in the trail. After our work, the GATC members were very excited to take us down the trail to see the privy and shelter where hikers can stay the night. We got to hear about the members’ hiking experiences. We learned who had hiked the whole trail and who had only done sections, who liked to use walking sticks and who thought they were for amateurs, and who stayed in shelter and who used tents. We also received lots of tips and tricks, mostly given to us at the expense of other hikers. When someone hiked by with a pack that was too big, the members pointed him out, and there was always an eye roll when the rare barefoot hiker would come through. They told us that the AT is 2100 miles and that only 20% of the hikers who intend on going all the way to Maine actually make it. Learning about the trail itself made us appreciate the GATC members and the work that they do even more.

We spent a total of three days doing trail work. We were given one planned off day and took another day off when it was raining. On our first off day, we took the scariest drive yet to a beautiful swinging bridge and had lunch there and did some exploring. We left and went to dinner with Bev and Olin, two GATC members. Bev and Olin have been opening their home to students working over spring break for 14 years. We were able to shower, for which we could not thank them enough, and Bev made spaghetti for us. They shared stories about their work on the trial, their family, and their travels. I loved hearing about all of the places they had been. Years ago, they decided that they wanted to visit every US national park in the country. There are over 50 parks, and they have less than 10 left. Olin is an avid photographer, so when it was time to leave, he brought out his camera and tripod for a group picture. When he saw the selfie stick that we had brought with us, we could tell that he preferred his tried and true tripod method. We all laughed along with Bev as Olin reluctantly joined in the selfie stick picture after we had taken one with his camera. We left Bev and Olin’s feeling clean and full and went to sleep late that night (late being around 10pm)Change 3

When it finally came time to leave Sunday morning, we all had to typical end of trip feelings. We felt like we had been in Georgia forever and also like we had just gotten there, and we joked that we were ready to “get back to civilization” but also were not ready to leave our mountain paradise. As we drove away, I couldn’t help but feel sad to leave the GATC members who had become our friends and the serene mountain life that I had grown to love. We all did a lot of reflecting during the experience and really thought about the meaning of service and how our view of service had changed after this trip. We came to the realization that, while we were doing worthwhile work that will make a difference in the environment, we were really the ones who were being served. Our interactions with the GATC and our time in the mountains helped us to conquer any fears that we had and to leave behind our insecurities. After climbing Blood Mountain, the highest peak on the AT in Georgia at 4000 ft, moving boulders, and crushing rocks into smithereens, you gain self-confidence that you did not have before you conquered these things. We returned to Baton Rouge after a drive that seemed to fly by, and we all went our separate ways. We recently had our last team meeting which was filled with laughter, reminiscing, and homemade king cake. Although we all signed up for CHANGE Break for different reasons, every one of us finished the journey with an unforgettable experience thatcan only be understood by the other members of the group, a group which has formed a bond of friendship that will transcend the week that we spent together in Georgia.

Change 4

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From The Other Side Of The World To Baton Rouge

Untitled1 Meet Jamie Keehn, a 25-year-old Senior from Rockhampton, Australia majoring in Sports Administration. Jamie is student athlete here at LSU and loves to get out, travel, and meet new people.

Studying Abroad

Deciding to come to LSU and study has been one of the best choices I have ever made. From the moment I stepped on campus this place has been home for me. After visiting for a weekend in early 2012 my mind was made up that this was going to be the college of choice for me. I couldn’t imagine my experience here at LSU going any better. The amount of people I have met during my 3 years are people I will continue to stay in touch with no matter where I end up, it has made my college experience that much better.

Southern Culture

All I can say is this, THE FOOD HERE IS AMAZING! This is one of the first things I talk about when I head back to Australia and people ask me what it like is over here in Louisiana. Nothing beats the south when it comes to delicious home cooked food that warms the heart. From boudin to red beans and rice, some of the simplest things in the world to make are some of my favorite. But let’s be honest nothing beats a nice chicken and sausage gumbo on a cold winter’s night. My favorite pastime to do when it comes to eating food is having a crawfish boil. Nothing compares to sitting around a table with a big group of people, chatting away, and enjoying a nice spring afternoon while pealing hundreds of little crawfish until your hands are all cut, sore, and your belly is full to the brim.

Mardi Gras

Anyone from the south is going to tell you that Mardi Gras is the best time of year to be in Louisiana, but hear it from the Australian, it’s the best time of year to be in Louisiana rather than anywhere else in the world! The atmosphere is alive, the brass bands are playing all day and night, and it’s one big celebration. The idea of catching beads from a float driving past was a little weird when I was first told about it, but now sign me up that is the best part. Nothing beats being out on the parade routes and catching handfuls of colorful beads and competing to see who can catch the most.


People ask me every day the simple question of “Why come all that way to go to LSU” and my answer is simple, Why not? I could not have asked for a better place to move to. The people are great, the hospitality is even better, the food is amazing, and most of all its LSU football! Where else would I want to play in front of 100,000 people on a Saturday night, in the loudest football stadium in the world?! It wasn’t a hard choice for me.

In closing, there are more than enough things that I have enjoyed while I have been here at LSU. It has felt like home for the past 3 years and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to enjoy my time at college.Untitled

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Meet a tiger momma, Peggy Frazier, from Lacassine, Louisiana. She is the wife of Ralph Frazier and proud Mom of Cameron Frazier, Petroleum Engineering major and an LSU Ambassador. Peggy remains involved with Parent & Family Programs by serving as a member of the LSU Family Association Council. She works part time billing for rural medical clinic and enjoys to spend a lot of time travelling. Peggy Loves Purple and Lives Gold!

We recently attended the LSU Family Association Spring Event hosted by Parent & Family Programs. It was our second year in a row attending the Spring Event and we intend to do it every year until our son graduates from LSU, or we become too feeble to attend (which may actually happen if he keeps changing his major). If you thought this was something you could miss out on, here are a few reasons to change your mind!

1. FOOD—and by food I mean there are mass amounts, you won’t go hungry! At the most recent Spring Event, boiled crawfish, jambalaya, corn, and potatoes were catered…Do you really need to see any other reason to attend?

OK…I guess you do………

2. COMRADERIE—you really can’t beat sitting around with other parents who can feel your pain.RandP at Spring Event

The first Spring Event we attended, we commiserated with other freshman parent peers about how much we missed our Tiger and how ‘the empty nest’ is actually a place, a very lonely place. We asked tentatively if their Tigers were calling them daily and breathed a sigh of relief when we realized we weren’t the only ones who had missed hearing our Tiger’s voice and looking forward to that next “ding” of a text message. It was comforting when us Moms were able to slip away and share our tricks of the trade to cope with our students being away from home. (A quick tip, I enjoy watching the home football games and trying to pick my tiger out of the crowd!)

Our second Spring Event went a little differently…we had some seniority (as well as some perspective) and were able to walk around and assure the newbies that time will indeed heal their pain. Don’t get me wrong…us Moms still had to sneak away and update each other on all of our tricks!

3. TIGER TIME!— It’s great to have your tiger with you at the Parent & Family Programs events. Not only do I love spending time with my tiger, but I enjoy the opportunity to get to know other tigers and their parents. Throughout the events coordinated by Parent & Family Programs we have gotten to know so many other families from all around the country!

P.S. One thing we did both years was to buy a couple of extra tickets for our tiger’s friends whose parents were not able to attend. There is something very heartwarming about spending time with the folks who spend time with your tiger, and what a great group of kids!IMG_2765 (2)

Surely you can see why family events are a MUST DO! It’s not too early to start planning for the next upcoming event, Family Weekend, which is October 2-4. SAVE THE DATE!!

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